GOP Illinois gubernatorial candidate calls Chicago “hellhole,” defends comments in live debate

A Republican candidate for governor of Illinois said last week in a televised forum with other candidates that Chicago is a “dysfunctional hellhole,” and defended the comment in another debate two nights later.

State Senator Darren Bailey (R) referred to the largest voting bloc in the state, which includes the city of Chicago, as “a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole” during a broadcast debate that focused largely on violent crime. Two days later, Bailey defended the statement in another debate, drawing criticism from his fellow GOP candidates.

The second debate occurred the same night as the Robb Elementary School shooting in Uvalde, Texas, and Bailey doubled down on his comments about the city during the forum.

“Let’s just call it like it is. Let’s think about Chicago: a crime-ridden, corrupt, dysfunctional hellhole, and no one knows that better than the friends and the people that live in Chicago,” Bailey said. “Something’s wrong. City leaders, they hate the police. At least they act like they do.”

Bailey further elaborated on his comments, saying, “You probably heard me refer to it as a hellhole. And you want to know what happened within hours after I made that statement? A homeless man was burned alive. He’s fighting for his life today. Mayor Lightfoot, Gov. (J.B.) Pritzker, Kim Foxx and their woke, anti-police policies are responsible for this. And if we are going to restore Chicago, somebody’s got to tell the truth. I said it, and when I’m elected as governor I’ll fix the problem and we will restore the greatness to Chicago.”

With three weeks to go until the Chicago primary election, Bailey has begun putting out expensive campaign ads and making a hard final push as voting day nears. The primary is scheduled for June 28.




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Laura is a freelance writer out of Maryland and a mom of three. Her background is in political science and international relations, and she has been doing political writing and editing for 17 years. Laura has also written parenting pieces for the Today Show and is currently working on writing a collection of remarkable true stories about normal people. She writes for FBA because unbiased news is vital to unity, and readers deserve the facts free of opinion.

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